Christianity: Expectations Vs. Reality

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The world knows how to complicate things. Christianity is no exception.

There are so many different branches of Christianity and ideas and perspectives about who is right and wrong, who is good and bad.

Let’s keep it simple and talk about what Christianity is at the core…and what it isn’t. 

#1 Christianity is NOT a race to see who can DO more for God.

The world would like us to believe the busier we are the better. The harder we work and the more we produce the more value we have. The better we are.

It’s only natural that we would translate this worldly perspective into our Christian life. We come to believe people who are DOING more for the Kingdom of God are BETTER Christians than us. 

But Jesus is countercultural. That’s not how He operates. With Christianity, it’s not about how much you DO.

In fact, if you feel heavily burdened, then that could be a sign you are on the wrong track. It’s time to come to Jesus because His burden is light.   

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

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#2 Christianity Is NOT a competition to see who can BE better.

We are often hard on ourselves. We think we should be doing better, sinning less, and trying harder.

You might have caught yourself thinking:

“I should be a better [Christian, husband, mother, father, friend, etc.]”

“Look over there at him. He’s so much [nicer, modest, soft spoken, outgoing, etc.] than I am. If I was a better Christian, I’d be more like him.”

“If I were a better Christian I would [drink less, stop having lustful thoughts, love my wife more, never over-eat, stop spending money I don’t have, etc.].”

Yes, as Christians, we are called to live a holy life free from sin. But Jesus knows our own personal struggles and torments. He knows our hurts and WHY we keep doing the same sinful things over and over.

Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves and He loves us right where we are. Not more or less than he loves anyone else.

“But if you are a poor creature–poisoned by a wretched up-bringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels–saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion–nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends–do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day He will fling it on the scrap-heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all – not least yourself: for you have learned you are driving in a hard school.” – C.S. Lewis 

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#3 Christianity IS a relationship with Jesus.

Christianity is learning to RECEIVE the gift of salvation. It’s about letting God’s love pour over us and into our hearts. 

When we truly believe we are loved, or even simply that we are LOVABLE (even in this sinful state), then we can start allowing ourselves to be filled with the love Jesus longs to give us. When we do that love will overflow to others from us. We will DO what we are called to do out of love for Jesus and others, not because we think it will make us a better Christian. 

Christianity isn’t about DOING more or BEING more. It’s about KNOWING more of who Jesus is and just how incredibly much He loves us right here, right now. 

Christianity is learning to live loved.

The world may try to convince you “good” is juggling 5,000 things and “bad” is doing less or being less than your neighbor. 

Jesus is countercultural. 

Christianity is not a comparison or a competition for love.  You don’t have to DO or BE more for Jesus. You simply must learn to let Jesus love you. Everything else pours out from there.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath

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